Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Teach to Transform Nigeria

Posted: April 17, 2019 by Patrice Miles in Jos Nigeria, Miles In Missions, Nigeria, Prayer, SIM

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Judy, Pastor Dogara & Wife

 

“Would you like to come to church with me?”  Last year, Judy, from Southeast Christian Church happened upon a Nigerian pastor named Dogara Gwana who was in Louisville for some seminary classes. Judy invited him to church and her bible study. It was at the bible study where Pastor Gwana met Dr. Tom McKechnie, founder of Teach to Transform. Teach to Transform (TTT) equips indigenous pastors and believers with basic medical training, farming and vocational skills. The hope is by using their new skills it will open doors for the gospel to be shared with others.

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Dr Tom Mckechnie & wife Karen with board member Ken Wilson and a TTT participant TY Wiggins

But the exciting part of this story is how God had a plan. Judy and Pastor Dogara were one of two divine appointments. My mother had heard of TTT and asked for a meeting between TTT and the Foundation she works for. As she  listened to TTT share what they do with the Foundation’s President she thought of Nigeria. My mom told Dr. Mckechnie about her daughter in Nigeria and asked if they had ever considered going there. Having two divine appointments where Nigeria was mentioned, Dr. McKechnie felt he had to explore what God had in mind. He traveled to Jos, Nigeria, and met with SIM, Pastor Dogara and myself. After seeing the need, Dr. McKechnie committed to coming back with a team.

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The Team

This past week I have had the pleasure of hosting this amazing team of 14 facilitators from Kenya, Texas, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky (my home town). We had 59 participants who attended the training in basic medical skills. About 75% of the class passed as trainers. Each was given a medical backpack with all the necessary medical supplies and sent forth to spread the gospel through basic medical care. Our class of 59 had a higher pass rate then any class TTT has ever trained. The high pass rate testifies that Nigeria has the people it needs to truly transform this nation if given the education and tools to do so. This story is about the awesomeness of God! You never know when you invite someone to church or set up a meeting that you might be a part of a divine appointment orchestrated by God Himself.

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It’s home assignment time again! So, what exactly is home assignment?

cousingirlsCason says “ It’s when we take a break from missionary work and visit family and friends and get to relax.” Jolie says “It’s our time we spend with our family and have fun.”

I am sure it looks different for every missionary family. This will be our third home assignment as we complete six years in Nigeria. The last two home assignments were very stressful as both times we arrived with a financial deficit of over $2,000 a month. This deficit meant we had to spend our home assignment fundraising at a high level before we could return to Nigeria.

IMG_6401In between the fundraising we tried to find time for:
1. Family and friends.
2. Needed doctor visits
3. Needed dentist visits
4. Restock on personal supplies for Nigeria.
5. Counseling, debriefing and spiritual renewal
6. Rest
7. New donors
8. Collecting resources for the ministry.
9. Shopping for needed clothing for the family
10. Eating everything we wouldn’t be able to have again for another two years.

We are blessed that this home assignment we are not arriving with a financial deficit. This will allow breathing room for more time reconnecting with family and friends, resting and re-envisioning what God wants for our family for the next two year term.

God has made it very clear that for the health and vitality of our family this home assignment needs to be longer than the chaotic three months spent on the road. We don’t know exactly what that looks like. We are asking you to pray along with us for clarity as to God’s plans for “Miles In Missions”. The video we made below will more fully explain the journey God has us on. Home assignment here we come!

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“Surely you are not calling me to do this Lord?”

This thought along with many other thoughts whirled through Emma’s mind when God called him to serve in Egbe in 2011 (click Emma’s Story to read Emma’s personal testimony).

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Pastor James, Emma and Don Fawcett

Emma’s initial calling was to start a Sports Ministry for HELP orphanage both locally in Egbe and as outreach to remote villages in the bush. On one of these outreaches Emma visited a TIV village. The TIV are an ancient tribal group in Nigeria with a very unique culture. This village, over an hour from Egbe, had no church building, no pastor, no resources for sports and little to no education. The need was great.

“Surely you are not calling me to do this Lord?”

Every Saturday Emma would motorcycle out to the village to host a football (soccer) game and to share the gospel using materials like Heart of the Champion. On Sundays he would make the one-hour trek again and attend church with them. Since they had no pastor Emma would often preach.

“My greatest challenge in visiting the TIV camp was taking meals with them. I saw the water they used to cook with and I knew I wouldn’t even clean my clothes with that water. I just prayed and asked God to let my stomach be OK. In all the years I visited the village I never once got sick.”

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Medical Checkup Clinic @ TIV Village

Three years later a team with the Texas Baptist Mission Network visited the TIV village with Emma. Don Fawcett, one of the team members, was deeply touched by the challenges these people faced and returned again with a medical team. They treated many diseases caused by drinking contaminated or dirty water. The team confirmed that two previous village deaths were due to waterborne disease (the chief’s 1st wife and a 10-year-old boy). Don and his team decided to raise the money needed for a well to provide a sustainable source of clean water to protect the lives of this entire community.

Don asked Emma to run the well project. Emma had no experience with managing people, drilling a well or forming a village committee to oversee the well.

“Surely you are not calling me to do this Lord?”

 

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The Digger

Emma says “The challenges began immediately. The machinery got stuck in the sand on our way to the village. Once we finally made it to the village we had people from the nearby town come to extort money from us for basically not giving them a well. Then one of the diggers received a very bad injury above the eye and had to be rushed to the local clinic. The largest challenge was when the drill machine simply would not start. I walked away to pray and then asked the engineer to just try and start it one more time. To both our surprise the machine turned on and started drilling. Once we hit water it became so exciting. The head engineer told me in all his time drilling boreholes he had never drilled a place with water like this one.  He told me this place was very blessed.”

Emma’s ministry to the TIV people has become an outreach department at C.A.R.E. Africa in addition to the monthly Sports Outreach Program Emma conducts in surrounding communities. Emma faces many challenges with this dual ministry such as transport, logistics, equipment and monthly expenses of roughly $250 a month.

Each time God calls us to do the impossible He tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Could this be your “Surely you are not calling me to do this Lord” moment? We hope this story will reach those who will prayerfully consider encouraging Emma by donating to the Sports Outreach Campaign https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/sportsoutreach

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Launch of the new well.

IMG_4266Every child should have the best chance for a successful future. But too many children in Nigeria aren’t getting the opportunity to reach their full potential.  These children eventually succumb to begging, lying and stealing to make ends meet because of so many economic barriers in their environment. You can help change that by sponsoring a child through C.A.R.E. Africa. Your sponsorship will give these children the gift of hope and a brighter future.

Nigeria ranks the highest in out-of-school children globally. Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 13.8 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. 

All children, no matter where they live or what their circumstances, have the right to a quality education.  C.A.R.E. Africa supports children through “family based care” which allows them to remain in a family unit.  We provide them with an education and teach them about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

DSC_0433When you sponsor a child, you achieve a special kind of giving that creates a relationship between you and the community where our C.A.R.E. Africa staff are helping to change the future. Sponsorship provides essential aid and education to the impoverished and improves the well-being of single and double orphans. It gives you the opportunity to see lives transformed. 

We have several children waiting for you. Through child sponsorship, you can be the hero in the life of a child today. You can make sure they grow up healthy, educated, safe and in a family.

Learn more about these beautiful children awaiting sponsorship by clicking on any of their pictures below or visiting our giving webpage at http://give.icareafrica.org

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Why is it that the first question after being introduced is always “so what do you do”?

45328000_10156746330298808_3825232954834026496_nIn the missionary world we are excited to talk about the great things we are involved in and how God is working in our ministry. We list the programs we offer, how many churches we have planted, how many widows, orphans and vulnerable people we have helped.

But we are so much more than what we do…..or are we?

The deceptive attitude that our worth is proportional to our job title or our achievements is predominantly found in Western culture. For the Western worker it means that hard work and more productivity leads to a promotion or a raise. For the missionary it means our accomplishments will lead to increased donations. Somehow our work has become our search for meaning in our life. In the process – many of us have forgotten who we really are and what brings joy to our lives.

Group-of-workersThe cashier, bank teller, missionary, doctor, construction worker and waitress are people with actual lives. They all have passions, goals, struggles, interests, hobbies, families, and qualities that define them and make them who they are. Everyone is more than their job, whether it’s the most admirable career worldwide, or a temporary position. We are all “something” but we are also “someone.” There’s a difference!

 

13416885_10154174756783808_3829576414355949085_oI would like to introduce myself to you.

My American name is Beth Patrice Miles. Beth in Hebrew means house, a strong structure. My Yoruba name is Modupe which means Gratefulness.

I am a child of God, daughter, mother, wife, friend, blogger, deep thinker, prayer warrior, Jesus believer, avid reader, clothing designer, honest to a fault, no filter, baker, coffee lover, innovator, sugar addict, visionary, question asking, exercise loving and don’t reinvent the wheel if someone has already done it -kind of girl.

I am a 3 on the Enneagram (The Achiever) an INFJ (The Advocate) on the Myers Briggs a DIC on the DISC test.

I had a complex childhood and my teenage and college years were not without their problems. I now live in Nigeria with two amazing kids, two dogs and a husband who loves me more than I deserve. My heart is big but there is a wall which only a few have climbed over. I am never satisfied unless I am helping someone or something grow or improve.

Missionary is what I do but I am so much more than that!

Who are you?

John 12:12 ~ child of God.
Ephesians 1:7 ~ forgiven.
John 15:16 ~ chosen.
Romans 6:6~ no longer a slave.
Genesis 1:27 ~ created in the image of God.
Jeremiah 1:5 ~ set apart and appointed.
1 Peter 2:9 ~ royal priesthood, God’s special possession.
John 15:15~ friend of God.
Ephesians 2:10~ God’s handiwork.
Philippians 3:20~ citizen of heaven.
Romans 8:37~ conqueror.
Psalm 139:14 ~ fearfully and wonderfully made.
2 Corinthians 5:17~ a new creation.
Ephesians 1:13 ~ marked with his seal.

Next time you meet someone and they ask you what you do, tell them who you are!

 

electionsPresidential elections will be held in Nigeria this Saturday the 16th of February 2019. This will be the sixth time that an election has been held every four years, since the end of military rule in 1999. Our family has started stockpiling supplies in case of lock down and curfews implemented due to violence. Cason and Jolie’s school has already given them off Friday and Monday.

Elections in Nigeria have always been a volatile subject. 2007 elections were described as “the worst they had ever seen anywhere in the world”, with “rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes and intimidation.

2011 elections were postponed and there was tension over whether a Muslim or a Christian should be President.

Our family was in Nigeria during 2015 elections and it was mostly very peaceful. All the nationals forecasted Buhari’s win and that it would be a peaceful handover and they were right.

This year, 2019, the forecast is not so positive. Concerns with terrorist attacks on elections institutions, violence toward voters, observers, or electoral officials, the use of armed gangs for voter intimidation, and widespread vote buying.

electiongifThe U.S. has warned against violence during the February 2019 general elections in Nigeria, and U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington says,

“I can tell you from my impressions during my travels and my previous service in Nigeria that I fear there will be some violence around these elections, as has been the case with previous elections. I do not anticipate large-scale nationwide conflict, but rather localized violence. We look at states that are currently tense, especially if state-level politics are contentious like those in Benue, Plateau, as well as those in high-stakes locations with large populations such as Kano”.

We know our God is a big God and his word says in Romans 13:1

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Please pray for Nigeria this weekend. The entire nation waits to see who the next President is and if the losing candidates will be humble and show the world that Nigeria is a country moving forward.

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“You chose the wrong girl God!”

I can only imagine that this was what Mary thought when she was pregnant with Jesus or when Queen Esther was told by her Uncle to save the Jews.

“You chose the wrong girl God!”

2018 was a hard year. Many times I felt inadequate to handle this missionary life. From problems in the ministry, to wondering if everything would collapse, fatigue and sickness that made me want to curl up and die, seeing needs without the finances to help, spiritual warfare taking its toll on my staff and having absolutely no clue what to do. I truly was stripped of everything I thought was important and my bare branches were exposed.

“You chose the wrong girl God!”

tumblr_static_winter_tree_by_epickittyness-d3dpj76“In spiritual winters, our fullness is thinned so that, undistracted by our giftings, we can focus on our character. In the absence of anything to measure, we are left with nothing to stare at except for our foundation. We begin to examine the motivations that support our deeds, the attitudes that support our words, the dead wood otherwise hidden beneath our busyness. Abundance may make us feel more productive, but emptiness has greater power to strengthen our souls.” Anonymous: Jesus Hidden Years…..my new favorite book!

In using my own strength to determine what I could or couldn’t do I inadvertently had removed God from the equation. Yes I loved Him, Yes I believed in Him, Yes I trusted Him and of course I spent time with Him everyday talking to Him about all these things.

So how did I get here?

How do I get out of it?

Look at how weak I am!

Look at my unbelief and how easily I am distracted and lose focus on You!

Why did You choose me to represent You to the lost when I am evidently lost myself.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Helplessness tests us and reveals what is really in our hearts. Dependence on God not self reliance is the true friend of our soul.

45328000_10156746330298808_3825232954834026496_n“My daughter, you are weak and that is why I chose you. Strength is not given, it is grown. Through Me you will help grow My kingdom and change lives. I chose the right girl!”

Personally, I do not know whether my dreams will be fulfilled or if my sweat, tears and prayers are just planting seeds for someone else to watch bloom. I do not know if like Esther, one day God will say, “I rose you up for just a time as this,” or if, like Mary the mother of Jesus, I will wait and watch my dreams be crucified before they know resurrection. I do not know……but then being all-knowing, is not my job.

Continue to pray for me and my family as we serve in Nigeria. If you would like to become a prayer partner and receive our weekly prayer requests click Prayer Partner.